Ah, summer. I absolutely L-O-V-E summer in the Pacific Northwest. It has been beyond glorious. I’m sorry to hear about the horrible heat wave that the rest of the country is suffering under but I’m wishing for our summer to last as long as seasonably possible. Sort of.
The downside to this all is that things keep growing here in Oregon. It’s never ending. It’s the perfect mix of mild temperatures, a little bit of rain, and lots fantabulous sunshine. With everything doing it’s growing thing that means it needs to be tamed or it will literally overtake your house. If you’ve ever lived here you know that is not a wild exaggeration. It’s a reality.
I should really know better. I’ve lived here long enough. When I was supposed to get my butt out there in March and cut my roses down, along with some other things, I thought, “Meh. It’s too cold! It’s too rainy! They don’t really look too bad right now. What could be the harm in letting them go this year?”
I’ll tell you “what the harm.”
I’ve been scratched up to the point it looks like I’ve given multiple cats baths (we don’t own any cats, nor do I bathe other people’s cats). I’ve ripped my foot wide open on pieces of slate. My hands are covered in blisters that won’t heal fast enough. Just last weekend a spider bit me just under my right eyebrow leaving a nasty…whatever it is those little bite-y spiders leave… and every morning since I wake up to a swollen eye that takes hours to go down. Sort of.
The Mister does the lions’ share of the hacking back of the wilderness (grass waits for no one) He has his own short list of maladies (Poison oak. Check. Bee stings. Check. Wasp nests. Check, check.) but, that’s a different tale to be told.
So there I am: repotting, hacking, cutting, taming, pruning, pinching, weeding, raking, sawing (yes, sawing), spraying, burning, slashing…whatever it takes. I head under the deck just off the steps to reclaim my rightful place in this scheme of things where I’m up against a Douglas Spirea. I bought this “thing” because of the whole “native plants” malarkey the gardening sections are always talking about. (And I really don’t get these gardening bloggers. They’re all poetic and dreamy. What freaking planet do they hail from?) What the experts don’t tell you is how “native” native plants go. Crazy native. This spirea would take over the world if I let it—it’s tendrils reaching out and up to my bedroom window where it would strangle me and my swelling right eye.
Clearly it’s already taken over a motion detector light that I know is mounted under the deck somewhere. So I begin. And that’s when I sucked my breath in at the sight of this:
A nest!!! A barn swallow nest!!! How cool!!! Gently I look inside for babies, eggs, any sign of life. We have them out at the horse barn and they are just beginning to lay so I’m as cautious as I can be. Of course, I call The Daughters over. They are hardwired for this stuff.
Sadly (for us) this clutch has fledged. But oh, how lovely. What is it about a nest that makes humans melt? Is it the sense of possibility they conjure up? Is it the exquisite architecture of wild creatures? What is it about NESTS that makes everyone suck their breath in when they find one?
We left it there for a few weeks in case some one came back to claim it and just the other day I gently pulled it down. I could finally see up close what it was made out of — all the plants that I’ve been battling with around here. Damn Mother Nature. Being all ironic! Making me all awestruck and soft! In one fell swoop this sweet, humble, little nest made the crazy growth of summer worth it all.